Team GB’s Homecoming Concert by The National Lottery

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Sunday: Team GB Homecoming Concert by The National Lottery; (BBC One, 7.30pm)

It’s bad enough having to wait four years for the Olympics to take place, but five – what a nightmare!

But that was the scenario sports fans across the globe faced when Tokyo 2020 was put on hold for 12 months in response to the global pandemic. The run-up to the Games, which started in July and ended last weekend, weren’t easy either, with organisers announcing that no fans would be allowed in any of the venues, which could, potentially, have left them lacking in atmosphere.

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There was even a rumour they could be cancelled again, but they went ahead and, despite everyone’s fears it could turn out to be a damp squib, the Olympics did not let us down – it was as exciting as ever.

Hosts Radio 1 stalwarts Greg James and Clara AmfoHosts Radio 1 stalwarts Greg James and Clara Amfo
Hosts Radio 1 stalwarts Greg James and Clara Amfo

Now, with all Team GB’s participants back on home soil, it’s time to pay tribute to their achievements via a star-studded concert at Wembley’s SSE Arena. And unlike the Games themselves, there will be a crowd to witness it – around 8,000 tickets have been made available, with friends and family of the athletes and key workers taking precedence, followed by players of the National Lottery, who were allotted tickets via a ballot.

“Without the continued support of National Lottery players, British sport wouldn’t be where it is today,” said former gymnast Louis Smith when the concert was announced. “The National Lottery’s Homecoming events not only say thank you to the players but also welcome home Team GB.

“After a different Olympic Games in Tokyo for the athletes, this is a unique opportunity to bring the team together in one place for the first and only time and celebrate them in a way only the Great British public can.”

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Smith, a medallist at the previous three Olympics, certainly knows what he’s talking about – funding via the National Lottery has transformed Team GB from also-rans into a major force. So if you’ve bought a ticket since the scheme began in 1997, you’ve contributed to the athletes’ success.

This summer we’ve witnessed another group of extraordinary individuals going for glory, thrilling in their achievements along the way, so it should come as no surprise to learn that a world-class group of performers are set to pay tribute to them. Among those featured will be Anne-Marie, Bastille, Rag’n’Bone Man and Yungblud (performing, fittingly, a version of David Bowie’s iconic song Heroes), while the legendary Nile Rodgers is set to be joined on stage by his band Chic, as well as special guest Laura Mvula.

Members of organisations such as Motionhouse, Chickenshed, the English National Ballet and Rambert will also feature, while the event is hosted by Radio 1 stalwarts Greg James and Clara Amfo.

“I can’t wait to celebrate our extraordinary Team GB athletes and be in front of an actual crowd again,” says James, while Amfo adds: “Team GB’s dedication and passion has been nothing short of inspiring. Every single athlete deserves the very best homecoming and what better place to do it than Wembley?”

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